Leakie Girl’s Taco Soup

My sister in law has an amazing taco soup recipe that has her name attached to it (seriously, it is known as Jodi’s Taco Soup with no care to where she may have acquired the recipe) and a small fan club that may or may not extend past my family in law. My hubby has requested it often through the winter months for the past five years (have we been married that long? I swear I’m still 21 at heart).  Pretty much any day it rains, he requests Jodi’s Taco Soup.

Through the years, I’ve made it my own, substituting here and there to fit my palate. (I hate big chunks of canned tomatoes and kidney beans) Hence, I’m renaming it Leakie Girl’s Taco Soup, using the nickname that my sister in laws gave me when I started dating their littlest brother. (the nickname may or may not make reference to my unfortunate maiden name)

This isn’t a recipe that will appear in Martha Stewart or get a foodie’s praise. It will, however, win the taste buds of any human who enjoys a good simple meal. Made with simple things. And using only a knife and can opener.

Ah the ease of canned foods.

Leakie Girl’s Taco Soup
{picture to come}

3 small potatoes, diced
2 handfuls baby carrots (or 3 reg carrots), sliced
1 onion, diced
4 cups water + 2 t Better Than Bullion (BTB*) Beef
1 lb ground beef
1 packet McCormick’s Taco Seasoning (or 1/4 c if you buy the bulk size bottle)
8 oz tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can green beans drained
1 can black beans drained
1 can chilli beans undrained
1/2 bag frozen sweet corn
1/2 bag frozen peas

Boil water and dissolve the BTB*. Add the potatoes, carrots and onion and cook until tender.

While stock and raw veggies are cooking, brown the beef. Drain off the fat.

When raw veggies are tender, add taco seasoning remaining ingredients, adding the beef last.

Let simmer for 20 mins or so, for the flavors to blend.

Top with sour cream, cheese or chips.

This is excellent as left overs (the flavors blend really well over night) and even frozen. Enjoy!

Busy Bee

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been marathon reading and crocheting up a storm. Which are equally engrossing and leave little time for photography and crafts…

A while back I stumbled upon the Purl Bee and fell in love with their Icarus scarf pattern. But the yarn they used was a flat silk and at $30/skein totally out of my budget. After talking to my sister and Mere (my yarn experts), I decided to get a fingering weight yarn from Knit Picks and use a large hook to get the open feel that the flat yarn gave the scarf. At $2/skein I could afford to buy enough yarn for two scarves – I was pretty happy.

Sadly, my first attempt didn’t turn out great. Somehow I messed up on the tension so one side was ruffling and my starting chain was far too long, so the scarf dragged on the floor.  I tried felting it, but since the stitches run length wise not width wise, it just made it a bigger mess.

Because I used my favorite yarn on my first attempt (silly me), I really wanted to save it. Mom to the rescue! I showed her the scarf and she suggested ruffling it. Brillant! So I did a running stitch the length I wanted and then bunched up the remaining length.  Now my illfated Icarus scarf is a pink delight. I love wearing it.

My second attempt turned out much better. I cut the starting chain down to 100 and then made sure I kept the right tension the whole way through. And since I had so much yarn left over, I made a hat to match. Super, super cute. The pattern I sued for the hat is the Cloche from the Lion Brand website.

For the pink scarf I used Rogue, Lipstick and Blush. For the blue, I used Calypso Heather, Sky, and Whirlpool. I was really pleased that the colors on the website were very close to the actual color of the yarn. And super soft.

Toddler Star Skirt

My dear friend, whom I call the Bestie, had a complete stroke of genius while making one of the elastic banded skirts
She put hearts on the sides! 
I just about died with glee when I got the picture. And she says she has no talent *scoff*
Being a natural artist, I had to borrow her idea and tweak it just a bit.
 I used photoshop (because my copy of illustrator is being a pain) to create a template for the stars, then cut them out of white seersucker I had laying around. Using the same method for the elastic skirt, I cut out the fabric to the dims I wanted. I used a medium weight denim that my Mom had given me, but used the wrong side (the right side was that dated blue blue denim that was popular bakc in ’93).
 Then before making the back seam, I measured and pinned the stars to the side of the skirt. I played around a bit and decided that I liked the look of a tight zigzag around the outside of the stars in white.
And here you have it – a star skirt!

Next time I may follow my sister’s advice and make pockets, which would be stinking adorable, dontcha think?

Easter Decorations

My blogging friend Sheena posted an awesome tutorial on how to make a tissue paper pompom garland
It’s super easy and super cute. 
Even if mine ended up looking more like flowers.
Which is so ok with me.  Flowers and me are like pb & j. 
Seriously.
My only suggestion is to work with tissue paper that’s less wide than you think it should be, or the part down the middle doesn’t blend, as you can see with the pink and blue ones. I think the best looking ones I made were about 8 inches or so  (I was using high quality artist’s tissue paper, so I’m not sure on the dims)… I’ll have to double check, but I thought for sure they’d look terrible and turned out perfect. 
Just remember to use 8 layers of tissue paper, instead of being like me, who tried the first time with only one layer. Didn’t work so well 🙂

flower art

So, I have a big aversion to fabric crafts and glue guns. Something about the two paired together screams 1970 crappy crafty. Like those fabric covered frames and photo albums. Blehck.

Am I the only one?

Anyways, I’ve wanted things to decorate my daughter’s room that were a bit more than just decorator art (you know the “paintings” people by just ’cause they match a room?). The previous owner had painted the smaller bedroom princess pink, so that’s the room she got when we moved in.

When she was born, I had intended for her room to be mainly soft sage green and dark wood. Funny how it’s turned, over the course of her two years, into pink with bright green and white furniture! I love the transformation, though. So perfect for my fairy princess loving girl.

LollyChops had pompoms as flowers during her WallFlower Week (which was seriously close to craft crack for me) and I had to incorporate them into my girl’s room. Only I didn’t want to spend any money. ‘Cause I cheap. 🙂

And that’s where things got super crafty.

Left over yarn from a scarf I just made (more about that in another post) got wrapped and wrapped and wrapped and then cut and cut and cut into pompoms.

No paper on hand that I liked, so I cut a piece from her old crib “skirt”, put some batting behind it and glued it to the carboard back of the frame.

An old frame that I had painted black for the old nursery got painted green. Then glossy white.

Bright green ribbon from some bow project turned into the stems and leaves.

All secured together with the really expensive glue gun I just bought. (oh it was sooo worth it)

Aside from some wayward glue, I really like how it turned out. Maybe the frame was a tad bit big, but since I had it on hand, well, it’s perfect.

The cost of this project?

Free.